By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
Jeff Kershaw of West Greenwich, R.I., would have made an outstanding ACU Wildcat. A leader in his high school and church, Kershaw knew he wanted to pursue a Christian higher education.
But he is enrolled as a freshman at Harding University because he never heard a thing about ACU. No one even talks about ACU in his region of the country, he said.
The past two years, President Royce Money has pleaded with the Opening Chapel crowd that if anyone knows any Rhode Islanders, to tell them about ACU.
Maybe the Office of Admissions should take that responsibility instead.
Eight admissions counselors who focus on the different regions of Texas also recruit from a different region of the United States. That means the focus of ACU recruiting lies largely in the Lone Star State.
To its credit, the Office of Admissions is mobilizing its efforts.
The offices of Admissions, University and Alumni Relations have teamed up to organize alumni throughout the country to act as ambassadors of the university in an effort to attract more out-of-state students, said Robert Heil, director of enrollment.
While this sounds like a positive recruiting move, the risks may outweigh the positives.
First, few alumni settle in the areas from which the least ACU students come, like the Northeast. Second, alumni are busy – they won’t have time to give each teenager the attention a full-time recruiter could. Finally, as Kershaw indicated, the testimony of a 40-year-old alumnus pales in comparison to that of a current student.
A bigger change must occur. As a senior, I have enjoyed opportunities and joys at ACU that I can hardly explain to outsiders. It pains me to sit back and watch teens who arealready involved in missions in their own schools attend every Christian university besides ACU.